As the campaigns for the presidency of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) continue to take shape, delegates from various branches have made clear their opposition against the re-election bid of the reigning President Richard Ngatia.
The June 8th polls will see the besieged Ngatia battle it out with his deputy Erick Ruto. Ruto and Ngatia broke ranks after he announced his intentions to unseat his boss.
Ngatia took over the leadership of KNCCI from Kiprono Kittony in 2019 following an uncontested election after his opponents suspiciously pulled out of the race just a month to the polls.
The controversial businessman’s 2023 bid is however dogged by a myriad of accusations ranging from political partisanship to corruption scandals.
The outgoing president’s woes begun after his unsuccesful stab at the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in the 2022 general elections. The business magnate was gunning for the city’s top post on a Jubilee party ticket, an affiliate of Raila Odinga’s Azimio coalition.
His political dreams were however cut short after retired President Uhuru Kenyatta implored him to shelve his political ambitions in favour of former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe.
Despite not making it to the ballot, Ngatia’s political stain remains a hinderance to his KNCCI re-election bid. Delegates, who view the organization as a neutral body that should be led by a president of no political leaning, have stated that Ngatia should drop his bid because he is currently politically compromised.
The delagates also cited a Ksh 1 billion corruption scandal that saw the president investigated by senators. A firm associated to Richard Ngatia was said to have recieved over Ksh 1 billion contracts for Covid-19 supplies.
A damning report by the Senate recommended that Megascope Healthcare Ltd- a firm where Ngatia serves as the CEO- be investigated by the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission.
According to the report, the contract for the supply of theatre equipment under Lot 1 of the project was awarded to Shenzen Mindray Biomedical Electronic Co., a company registered in China at Sh5.4 billion
However, Shenzen Mindray subcontracted Megascope in controversial circumstances that the Senate committee noted was a tactic “used to circumvent the procurement process”.
“The committee finds that the contract and the subcontractor’s deed of warranty were used to circumvent the procurement process by awarding the subject matter of the contract to Megascope, a party that would otherwise not have qualified to be awarded the contract as per the term of the tender that required bidders to be original equipment manufacturers,” the report noted.
The committee said that the deal officially made Megascope the legal owner of the equipment, putting the government at risk as the new contract made it clear that a claim could only be made against the subcontractor.
“Due to the foregoing the subcontractor, Megascope, through the transfer of ownership of the equipment, ended up becoming the principal in a contract that it would otherwise not have been qualified to win,” the report stated further.
It goes on: “The Ministry of Health was negligent when it signed an amendment and restatement deed that limited its rights under the contract.”
Megascope is among firms that recently landed lucrative jobs at KEMSA with documents tabled in Parliament showing the firm was awarded contracts worth over Ksh1 billion.